The craze for tiny homes is sweeping through many countries, including New Zealand, where the trend has gained massive popularity over the last couple of years.
Even though tiny homes are loved for their minimal footprint, their affordable price has made them highly sought after, especially in a climate where the cost of traditional homes continues to rise while available lands continue to see a steady decrease, especially around urban centers.
For New Zealanders looking to jump on this trend and get their very own tiny home, you’re welcome to read today’s post as it has everything and more that you’re looking for.
Tiny home: What is it?
For starters, tiny homes come in two categories, and they include tiny homes on wheels and tiny houses. According to the New Zealand Tiny House Association (NZTHA), the former is defined as a house with the functionality and characteristics of a permanent home, and that’s because it is fixed to land and has a pretty similar scale to recreational vehicles and large caravans.
On the flip side, the latter also shares similar characteristics and functionality of a permanent house, only that this one is built on a trailer. And unlike the former, this one isn’t fixed to land. That said, it is also comparable to recreational vehicles and large caravans.
Tiny houses New Zealand: How big can they be?
Whether it is in the UK or New Zealand, size is crucial for tiny homes. And for those asking how big a tiny house can be in New Zealand, you’re welcome to read further as we will be providing you with detailed information regarding that in a bit.
Without the need to get a special permit for your tiny home, you’ll have to ensure that your tiny home built on a trailer is 2.5 x 4.25m wide from the ground and 12.5m long. Also, you have to ensure that the overall weight doesn’t exceed 3.5 tones.
On the other hand, while a fixed tiny home in New Zealand isn’t restricted in terms of size, there is a maximum dimension that is guided by both local and regional requirements. This is also subject to site-specific information. And considering that housing laws differ throughout the country, you’ll have to ensure that your home conforms to local and regional requirements.
To take things up a notch, we would like to inform you that the average size for a tiny home, whether fixed or movable, is set between 37.16m² or less. Anything outside this may pit you against local housing laws, which we are sure you’re not ready to deal with. So ensure you stick to specified dimensions.
Tiny house NZ: Should they be on wheels?
This is one question that pops up a lot, and today, we want to set the record straight. When it comes to tiny house NZ, you’ll be happy to learn that you don’t have to fix them on wheels. As a matter of fact, many tiny homes in New Zealand are built as permanent homes and have almost the same foundations as traditional homes.
That said, to ensure that tiny homes comply with the myriad of local regulations in New Zealand, many tiny homeowners prefer transportable homes to fixed tiny home dwellings.
New Zealand tiny homes: Do you need building consent before commencing construction?
Since the tiny home space is fairly new in the country, there are little or no specific regulations relating to tiny houses. As such, there are a lot of grey areas. More so, since tiny houses are generally fixed on wheels, most tiny homes in New Zealand are subject to laws guiding the use of caravans and recreational vehicles.
This simply means that if a tiny home is designed for and functions as a transportable dwelling, it may be exempted from any requirements stipulated in the countries’ building codes. Plus, you may also not need to get building consent.
Additionally, under New Zealand’s Building Act, a load on a trailer classed as mobile is not recognized as a building. To this end, it is exempted from any requirement stipulated in the country’s Building code.
Unfortunately, New Zealand’s Building Codes aren’t consistent across the country. While some councils classify tiny movable homes as caravans, other councils classify these types of homes as buildings.
For instance, tiny homes (transportable) are classed as buildings by the Tasman District Council, especially if used as long-term accommodation. For the avoidance of doubt, for a tiny home to be considered long-term accommodation, it needs to be occupied for at least two calendar months or more.
On the contrary, if the house is occupied for less than two calendar months in any one year, the same council classifies the tiny house as a caravan.
Understanding legal requirements for tiny homes in New Zealand
As we mentioned earlier, the tiny home niche is fairly new, and there are no specific regulations for tiny homes in New Zealand. More so, regulations vary from one council to the other.
While some councils classify tiny homes as buildings, which means that these properties must follow set Building Codes, other councils classify small dwellings as caravans, which aren’t subject to Building Code requirements.
And because these laws can vary greatly from one region to the next, there are many grey areas. To this end, you have to do your homework and be sure that you’re not breaking any laws when buying or building a tiny home.
Building a tiny home in New Zealand: How much does it cost?
While tiny homes aren’t as expensive as traditional homes, they aren’t so cheap either, so you’ll need to consider the financial implications that come with owning a tiny home and decide if it is something you’d love to do.
Besides being more affordable than traditional houses, one thing we love about tiny homes is that you can tailor your budget according to your needs along with a varying range of individual circumstances.
As per financial implications, a tiny home could cost anywhere from $20,000 upwards. And this is greatly influenced by materials, size and design scope.
On the flip side, for tiny homes to meet the stringent requirements of building codes, you may end up spending close to $100,000.
Building vs. buying your tiny home: What you should know
With the tiny home movement increasingly getting popular, especially in New Zealand, one question that keeps popping up is deciding what’s best, between building your own tiny home yourself or buying one from a professional builder. And today, we want to bring you up to speed on everything you need to know about this.
Let us tell you right from the get-go; there is no right or wrong answer as it ultimately boils down to your budget and timeline. That said, sit back and read what each option offers and decide what works for you.
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, then building your own tiny home wouldn’t be such a bad option. And just so you know, this option will save you a lot of money, especially when you consider labor costs.
For people willing to get their hands dirty, building your own tiny home comes with optimum satisfaction, especially when you consider that you were involved in designing and actually building your own tiny home.
But while DIY building can be super exciting and rewarding, this option comes with its downsides. For instance, being your own contractor will mean that you have to source every material yourself, which can be super crazy. Also, unless your family members are willing to be part of the project, you may have to outsource part of the labor work.
For tiny home enthusiasts not feeling pumped up about building their own tiny homes from scratch, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to opt for a tiny house kit instead. With this option, you have a complete blueprint along with instructions and materials needed to build your dream tiny home.
As per the budget, building your own tiny home will cost you anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. Compared to buying a tiny home which may end up costing you between $70,000 to $100,000, you’ll agree that building your own tiny home is a lot cheaper.
Buying your tiny home
If you don’t want to deal with all the stress and hassles that come with building your own tiny home, then the best route to take is getting a professional to do it for you. And if this is an option that works for you, you’ll need to reach out to a local contractor with many years of experience in the tiny home niche.
The only caveat with this option is that it will cost you a lot more than you’d need to build it yourself. So if you aren’t prepared to spend so much to get your dream tiny home, your best bet is to build it yourself.
However, if the price isn’t an issue, getting a professional contractor to design and build your own tiny home is the way to go.
With a professional to the rescue, you don’t have to worry so much about getting a permit and building your home to comply with certain codes.
Even though having a professional build your tiny home will cost you way more than you’d spend building it yourself, it is worth it if you consider the stress that comes with DIY projects.
As per the budget, having a professional build your tiny home should cost you anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000.
Top tiny home builders in New Zealand
Are you looking to outsource your tiny home project to a professional building company, but you don’t know where to start from? Well, not to worry, as we have you covered. Read on to find our list of top tiny home builders in New Zealand.
- Absolute Tiny House NZ
- Build Tiny NZ
- Cottage Co Canterbury
- Cocoon Tiny Homes
- Ecospace NZ
- Love Shack
- Greenhaven Homes
Note: Because they made it to our list of top tiny home builders in New Zealand doesn’t mean that we are endorsing their services. So do your homework, check out their services, see their reviews and decide if they tick all your boxes.
Can I buy a pre-owned tiny house?
For many tiny home enthusiasts who don’t want to go through the hassles of building their own tiny homes and don’t have the budget for a new home, opting for a second-hand tiny home wouldn’t be such a bad choice.
While a new home could cost you anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000, a pre-owned tiny home will cost you way less. We are talking anywhere from $20,000 to an excess of $30,000.
A good place to check for pre-owned tiny homes is to perform a simple Google search. Also, you can streamline the search to pre-owned tiny homes close to you. This should provide you with listings that aren’t so far from where you currently stay.
Also, with the myriads of tiny home listing websites in NZ, finding a pre-owned tiny home you can buy right away wouldn’t be so difficult. Plus, these websites provide you with plenty of options, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Renting land to park your tiny home
While living in a tiny home is appealing, especially as the trend continues to sweep through NZ, most tiny homeowners still have one hurdle to overcome- finding land to place their tiny houses.
Although recent building code changes mean that it is now easier than ever to build your dream space, finding a permanent land to place your property remains challenging.
Thankfully, you’re in luck today as we have some amazing resources and websites that will help you find the perfect land for your new space. Read on to see our list of top websites where you can easily buy or rent land for your tiny home.
Compared to buying, renting land is a lot cheaper, especially if you’re on a budget. More so, renting is a great way to save up some extra cash you can put down into purchasing your own land.
That said, whatever option you decide to opt for, these websites should help a great deal.
Landshare NZ is a fantastic website that connects homeowners looking for land to rent for their tiny homes with landowners interested in leasing their land. While this platform is of incredible benefit to both parties, it also offers fantastic advice on leasing and renting. And guess what, setting up an account on this website is hassle-free, easy and fast.
All you have to do is create a listing, select your ideal location and set your price point. It’s that easy.
For Kiwis looking for land to rent, you’ll find this platform worth giving a try. Whether you’re looking for land to park your tiny home, caravan or portable cabin, rest assured that this is the place to be. With myriads of listings across the country, this is the perfect place to find the perfect land for your property.
Using Facebook Groups
Yes, Facebook is an awesome way to keep in touch with your loved ones and friends, but guess what? Using Facebook groups is also a smart way to find the perfect land to lease for your tiny home. By joining different tiny home Facebook groups, you may end up finding landowners who are willing to lease their land for a small fee.
Best platforms to find land to buy
If you’re not interested in leasing but want something you can call your own, you’re welcome to visit these resources to find the perfect land you can buy for your tiny home.
With TradeMe Property, you’ll be able to find incredible residential and commercial properties for rent. And to start the process, all you have to do is streamline your search by location and the type of property you’re looking for. You can also use the advanced search function for more precise results.
If you’re interested in getting a decent land you can buy for your tiny home, you’ll not be disappointed to check out realestate.co.nz. With tons of listings available for your kind perusal, you’ll most likely find a property that ticks all your boxes.
Being home to over 1 million property listings, you’ll no doubt find everything you’re looking for and more. From market insights and trends to property valuations to mortgage calculators and property news, this is a place to be if you want a decent land you can buy.
Designed to become the one-stop destination for Kiwis looking for their dream property, this amazing site with over one million listings is the perfect platform to find land you can buy for your tiny home. We love the fact that the platform has a pretty large and active community willing to always assist property buyers in finding the perfect piece of land.
From cars to land to other properties, this is the place to be. And the exciting thing about this platform is that you can boost your ads for a small fee. With this option, you can reach more landowners who may be interested in leasing or selling an empty section of their property.
Land tax for tiny homes
While renting or buying land for tiny homes is pretty important, there is also land tax to think of. Thankfully, for many tiny homeowners who have their homes on wheels, you’re exempted from paying land tax.
But before you get too excited, keep in mind that you can’t just place your tiny house on wheels in just about any place you like.
And because of zoning laws, you may have to pay to park your home. Also, depending on where that is, you could incur real estate taxes too.
Frequently asked questions
Can I park my tiny home on my property?
Tiny homes, whether fixed or movable, are subject to regulations. And guess what, these regulations aren’t the same in all regions. So to ensure you aren’t breaking any laws, it will make sense to do your homework by checking with the local council. This way, you’re sure you’re complying with relevant regulations. Also, before you build a tiny home, do your due diligence to ensure you’re legally allowed to build your tiny home in your preferred location.
Where can I park a tiny house?
When it comes to parking your tiny home, there are no nationwide rules that apply, and that’s because these rules are set at the local level and vary from one region to the next.
The best way to know the specific rules applicable to your region is to contact the relevant local council.
And because there are no specific laws that cover tiny transportable homes, it’s best to know the rules for caravans as most tiny homes are classed under this category.
Can I get financing for a tiny home?
Because a tiny home is considered a vehicle, it is very unlikely that you’ll qualify for a home loan via a bank. That said, you may be able to get a personal loan to finance your tiny home dream. Also, if you already have an existing home loan, you may include the cost of the tiny home in this.
On the flip side, if you don’t have an existing home loan, you may still be able to get a loan from your bank for your tiny home, provided you have a guarantor that can stand in for you.
Unfortunately, you can’t use your Kiwisaver to finance your tiny home on wheels, and that’s because this type of property is considered a vehicle.
If any of these options don’t work, you can check out alternative financing companies and brokers who are more than happy to finance your tiny home. The only caveat is that their interest rate is super high. So give it a good thought before you go for this option.